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Trade possibilities loom if A’s reload

The A’s will likely be sellers as the trade season gets underway in baseball this month. And as history has shown, it’s tricky to figure out what they’ll get back.

Most of baseball has adopted general manager Billy Beane‘s way of scouting and building a roster, advanced metrics playing a large role, and that sours some of the upside of what Beane was able to do in the past.

Beane pulled the trigger on the largest sale of the offseason when he moved third baseman Josh Donaldson to Toronto for some mediocre talent.

One notable player they received was second baseman Franklin Barretto, on whom the A’s built a scouting report on dating back to when the infielder was 14 years old.

The A’s also have infielder Rangel Ravelo, whose primary position is second base, and have the luxury of moving one or the other.

The A’s also have two pretty solid third base prospects in 2014 1st round pick Matt Chapman and Renato Nunez.

Nunez is projected to be ready by 2016, Chapman in 2017, the latter currently being projected as the better overall player.

All of this factors into what the A’s might look for in this season’s group of moves.

The team has a good chunk of talent on the big league roster, but the farm system is still lacking and the overall need is large. Positions that should be bolstered for the future are left field, first base, third base, catcher, and relief pitching.

Oakland also has a need for starters to grow in their farm.

Here are some moves that may be of interest to the A’s:

Kyle SchwarberC, and Billy McKinneyOF, Chicago Cubs for Ben ZobristSS, and Tyler ClippardRP

Zobrist was reported as among the Cubs top trade targets due to his amazing positional versatility and relationship with Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

Chicago also needs more bullpen depth, and Clippard is someone who can deliver.

Prognosis: This one works for both teams, though the Cubs may need a little more to sweeten the pot. Maybe Ravelo or Nunez would help. The addition of Edward Mujica, too, would provide a certain boost.

Schwarber is arguably the best minor leaguer around, and McKinney is the second guy the A’s moved, along with Addison Russell, for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in 2014.

It’s feasible the A’s can get both, especially since the Cubs have too much talent in their farm and can’t bring everyone up. But this is a best case situation for Oakland.

Hunter Renfroe, OF and Travis Jankowski, OF, San Diego Padres for Scott Kazmir, SP and Edward Mujica, RP

Both Renfroe (23) and Jankowski (23) are players with upside, and not near their potential. Jankowski fits the leadoff role that Billy Burns fills, with a solid on base percentage and exceptional speed.

Renfroe is is slugger who can hit for average all the same, and plays average defense with above-average instincts.

The Padres should continue to buy, and if their offseason is an indication, have no problem sending away prospects for major league talent. They have Wil Myers, Justin Upton and Matt Kemp on their big league roster, and while Renfroe is deserving of a call up after the super-two deadline this year, might not get one.

Prognosis: The Padres are only five games back in the National League West, and the additions of Kazmir and Mujica would work well in their favor. The A’s get substantially better in the outfield with Renfroe, and have a solid prospect in Jankowski.

Josh Bell, 1B, and Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates for Scott Kazmir, SP

Neither player is terribly talented at one thing, but neither are weak in what they do. Bell can play in the outfield, which the A’s covet, and was transferred to first base last offseason due to Pittsburgh’s crowded outfield.

Meadows is a left field or centerfield candidate, with great prowess at the plate despite limited power and a knack for striking out. With the Pirates high-A club, Meadows has struck out 30 times compared to 25 walks, though he still sports a .370 on base percentage.

Meadows is also only 20-year-old, and has plenty of time to mature. He’s expected to be ready for big league ball around 2017.

Prognosis: Bell could be ready tomorrow and has the pop that the A’s are missing at first base. Meadows gives the A’s a very young high-upside prospect, who they can develop and maybe trade at a later date. Because that’s their modus operandi.

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  1. Rangel Ravelo’s primary position is NOT second base. He can play first base or third base.

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